Saturday, February 07, 2009


I’m a well educated man although you wouldn’t think it from my factory job. It’s all the fault of a Yorkshire terrier.

2 years ago I came out of university fresh faced and ready to set the world alight. I returned back home with my parents temporarily until I could get on my own 2 feet. Everyone was happy back then, and the future brimmed with possibility.

I’d trained as a psychologist, but when I came out of university jobs in the field were pretty scarce. I wasn’t really sure how you were supposed to make inroads into the profession.

Around this time I was also beginning to catch up with old friends who I had been to school with. On the same day that I found out one of my old friends had become a policeman I landed a job answering the phone for the emergency services. I’m not sure how sure how significant that is –but it felt important at the time -in an unclassifiable way. I still think about it sometimes.

The job was not as bad as you might think. It was mostly a job of calming people down, whilst at the same time getting the address of the fire/crime/accident and the barebones of what happened. Most people are surprisingly lucid and clear in pressurised situations. I think it must be because most people realise the gravity of the situation and just want to help resolve it.

Sometimes the situation –particularly ones such as battery and assault –could be very bad. In those times though I saw myself as… and I realise that this is going to sound shallow… but as a superhero. The hot phone would ring and I’d make sure that all the right things were done.

One of the worst aspects of the job was not actually knowing the outcome of the job. But more than once I was able to find out by asking around my friends in the forces. Often I wouldn’t need to even ask as they would come to me –usually when the news was particularly good. A life was saved! A crime was prevented!

Once I found out all the details of one incident of a crime by a friend at the force who related a story at a party. Quietly afterward I told him that it was me who had taken the initial call. He just smiled and raised his glass. But he never spoke about work in my presence again after that. It seemed to be an unspoken turn in our relationship. I still think about that too.

A couple of times I have seen stories in the news and papers which related to calls I had taken. I remember one call where a man was being burgled and he could hear the thief rummaging downstairs. I got most of the details and tried to keep him on the line –but he hung up. I followed all the procedures and stayed on the case until I was relieved from duty for the night and sent home. On the radio as I drove home the news told of his murder. I didn’t eat for 48 hours after that, and felt sick for about a week after that. But I never once thought about quitting. The final blow came from something more subtle but, to me at least, more profound.

One late autumn afternoon I took a call from a very distressed lady. At the time I wasn’t sure how old she was. You can’t really tell form the voice. I’ve had girls on the phone who have screamed themselves so hoarse that I thought were old age pensioners by the time I spoke to them.

She was inconsolable and very difficult to understand with all her wailing and crying. I had a knot in my stomach.

I eventually established that there had been a death of some kind, perhaps a murder. “He’s dead! He’s dead!!!” she kept wailing.

I calmed her down enough to get her address details jotted down on my pad which I always used to piece things together before putting it on the computer.

The computer programme we used worked like a kind of search engine; you just put in scraps of details and gradually the computer finds the address by a process of elimination. I usually use my jotter pad to get incident details sorted out. This time I had to use it to sort out everything. She was in a very, very bad state. I wondered if she had been hurt herself.

I forget the specifics of what was actually said now. But I do remember the feeling when I realised that she was in fact referring to her pet dog that had died in his sleep. I felt both great relief and also bewilderment. I couldn’t understand how someone else could care so much about an animal.

I calmed her down and called the only people I could think of –her local vets. After a little while I handed over the call.

The rest of the day I kept looking at that address. Even when I covered it up I could see it in my mind. It followed me home, and that night I don’t think I slept at all. I just kept thinking about my widowed mother who lived not 10 miles away –who I had not seen in several months.

By the morning I felt awful and called in sick to work.

The whole time my notes stared at me. The worst thing about memories like that is that you can’t dismiss them. I couldn’t cover the notes in my mind without seeing them still.

I took a drive that rainy autumn morning. I aimlessly drove down streets. I didn’t think much about this at the time. Not much of a psychologist after all huh? Of course I ended up heading to the address I had memorised in my mind.

When I got there I found the police guards and taped off area. It was all very sedate.

I asked the policeman there what had happened and he asked if I was a relative. I don’t know why, but I said I was.

They took me into the house which was in a bad state of disrepair. The wallpaper was peeling from the walls and the floor was strewn with rubbish. Cartons, food scraps… it was awful. I felt ashamed. How could anyone live this way in this day and age?
She had died clutching her –what must have been 3 day dead –Yorkshire terrier.

I spent the rest of the day learning all about her and being handed her things. I told the police that I had never realised it had got like this, that we normally ate out when me met. I told them that I would come back to pick up the stuff which could be salvaged. I took with me an old black and white picture of her in her twenties.

She was beautiful.

On the way home I stopped at the police station and told them that the details I had told the officers at the house were false. After about 3 hours of investigation and a fine for wasting police time I was allowed to go home.

When I got home I realised just how empty the house was. I had been living alone now for a year and had never felt as alone before.

I sat on the edge of my bed looking at the picture. She must have been about my age in it. I wished we had been living in the same time. Maybe I could have loved her.

Maybe she wouldn’t have been so alone.

I decided to call my own mother –but the phone just rang.

I called up work and handed in my notice next.

I tried my mother again –but there was no answer.

The phone just kept ringing.

I drink quite a lot nowadays –it’s good to escape life for a while. I don’t like the factory job the temp agency got me, but I’ve been doing it for about 3 years now and can’t really see myself doing anything else.

When I get bad it’s good to have all that hard work to plough into.

I come home so tired most days it’s as much as I can do to fix myself a meal.

Being so exhausted I can always sleep. I never dream. I try not to think much about stuff at all really. You just end up going in circles. What good is that? Regrets.
I think about picking up my psychology books sometimes as I can barely remember a thing anymore. But I never do. They just clutter up the shelf staring back at me.

I guess that writing this down is a step forward.

But does it actually change anything?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hello's & Goodbyes

Martin was standing at the bus-stop when he saw a beautiful young mother and her daughter go into a shop nearby.

For a brief moment he became her husband and he was waiting outside for her. They were his beautiful wife and daughter.

The bus pulled up and a married couple 3 rows back parted ways for the rest of their lives.

6 rows back a boy said goodbye to the mother he never knew as she got up to leave and opposite him an elderly gentleman was meeting his great grandchildren for the very first time.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The House

Before I tell you my story I should make clear that I am not actually real. I’m just a figment of the writers’ imagination. How real the resulting story is –is an interesting question. Certainly for me it’s real –otherwise there wouldn’t be a story to tell would there? But then again -as I already said –I’m not real. No more real than an imagined past or a dreamed of future. You don’t doubt those do you?
Well, I was staying in a campsite in the shadows of a great mountain range. You can think of the Alps if it helps –it doesn’t really matter. The main thing, in terms of this story is that it was cold. Bitterly cold. If you began this paragraph thinking it was warm and sunny –I’m sorry you will have to create another image. The temperature is important to the story you see? I wouldn’t have said anything otherwise.
All I had with me was a small, inadequate, red tent which was slowly deteriorating with each night that my travelling continued. In fact, thinking back, I’m not sure why I bothered travelling with it. It didn’t stop the howling wind chilling me to my bones. It didn’t stop the sounds of things going bump in the night, or weird howls –which I hoped were owls. Owls don’t eat people, monsters of my imagination do. If ever anything is giving you the creeps –like a weird noise, shapes in the dark –just imagine something which fits with the noise or shape which is easier to live with. You need to control an imagination. They can get so easily out of hand. Look at me! Pure imagination. But you should ignore that –otherwise you’ll never get into this story. You have to start thinking of me as real.
So… I had a tent which let in wind, leaked, and was of no good to me whatsoever. Still, the thought of being without it troubled me. I felt unsafe sleeping outside without it. Besides, it’s nice to forget what’s around you sometimes. In a tent you can you can be miles from home –out by the Rockies (or the alps) –yet still be in your back garden at home. With a warm house and good food just paces away. Of course as a kid it worked the other way around. I’d be in the back garden in my tent (the same one!), but in my mind I was really in the Amazon, or a raft at sea. Why I could never want to be where I actually was is a mystery to me. When did one become the other?
This one night it began to rain. That icy kind of rain which actually stings when it touches your skin. I began to notice that the floor of this tent was getting wet. Somewhere I had a leak. Yet, for some reason, I just stayed there –wide awake in my sleeping bag. Maybe I was thinking it would stop raining or something… Well whatever I was thinking –it wasn’t about stopping the leak or anything. I think I must have thought that I didn’t want to go outside in the rain and get wet. Which is pretty stupid as –not only did I get soaked inside the tent –but so did my sleeping bag, my clothes, my travel book and map. Just about everything was ruined.
It got to be like a mini-pool in that tent, and I was still in my sleeping bag! Finally I came to my senses and grabbed up all of my stuff. Cursing myself all the while.
I clambered out of the tent into the pissing rain. I was already soaked and cold –so it didn’t really matter being outside. Yet, actually seeing the rain made the whole thing more depressing. I couldn’t see three feet in front of me it was coming down so strong. It was so loud it hurt my ears.
I left that tent there without a backwards glance. Well ok, just one look… but I couldn’t see it through the rain –so it doesn’t really count.
It seems funny now –but at the time it was incredibly depressing. I managed to end up walking across a river. Don’t ask me how. But one moment I walking through the grass and the next I’m waist deep in muddy water.
Several times I lost my footing in the strong current and was swept downstream, which had me cursing myself blue. In truth, it really made no difference. I probably wanted to go in that direction anyway and it was certainly a quicker way to travel than walking. I think it’s because in dire circumstances like that you tend to only think in steps, and my mind was set on getting to the other side of the river. Getting knocked off of my feet was counter productive to this.
Eventually I made it to the other side. I didn’t have a clue where I was. It was still pissing down with that numbingly cold rain. Stupidly, I decided to leave my map in my bag as I couldn’t face looking for it. I had my hands in my pockets as it kept them ever so slightly warmer and I did not want to get them out to fish around for a map.
Now, I know all this is hard to believe –but I’m really crap with directions –and I had been relying on the local bus to get me from A to B. I had only arrived at the foot of the mountains earlier that day and still hadn’t planned whether I was going to explore the surrounding area or move on. I really didn’t know where I was. So not consulting a map was really pretty stupid.
Instead, in the belief that it would lead me into a town, I decided I would follow the river. Only the day before I had been in a town with a very similar river, and in the back of my mind I think that I thought I could get back to the same town. I found out years later that the river going through that town was a completely different river. That’s all well and good to me now. But back then it meant nothing.
Figuring that I’d hit the town soon I put a bit of stride in my step. Why didn’t I follow the road the bus had come on to get to the campsite? Beats me! Crossing that river was stupid –I should have just got out the way I came in. but I did cross it. That was stupid –sure. But crossing back again seemed even more stupid. How could I explain that in a story? No. I was on the other side.
In the time it has taken you to read the last couple of paragraphs, I had spotted a glimmer of light in the rain and had begun walking towards it.
To begin with it seemed like I wasn’t getting any closer. It always seemed to be the same size. More than once I stopped and thought about turning around – but it always seemed too late to change my mind. Especially on the 3rd or 4th time I stopped.
After what seemed an age, I suddenly began to get closer. The dot of light turned into a window, the window then became a window on a house, and the house became a house in a street.
I laughed to myself in the rain.
God damn!
I made my way to the house with the light on. The first out of a total of three. Nice big houses. Warm and cosy! Well the one with the light on… surely!
How late was it? Was I going to be waking people up? It was hard to tell in places with street lamps for some reason, I guess because the light never changes. I never had a watch as I got fed up of changing it every time I went into a new time zone. There was only one light on in the whole street. So either everyone was away or it was late and everyone was asleep.
I decided to be a bit cautious, and tapped very gently on the front door.
I tried the door handle. It was unlocked.
I eased the door open very quietly for someone who wanted to get the homeowners attention.
I stepped inside.
I realised that I was holding my breath.
Directly in front of me was a flight of stairs. They reached upwards towards the soft light of the upstairs landing. If someone was in, they would be up there.
I should have done something. But I didn’t. Now I was acting as if I didn’t want to be seen at all. I felt terribly self conscious. How was I going to explain my story? Did it make sense? I tried to follow the events that led me here, but gave up in panic half way through. What was I doing??
I slipped into the more comfortable darkness of the living room where no-one could see me. No-one knew I was there.
I looked around for some family pictures. I wanted to see who lived here without them seeing me. I wanted to be prepared in case someone appeared.
Obviously they weren’t a sentimental family… not a single picture! Assuming it was a family of course –it could have been the home of one person for all I knew then. I know now of course, but I don’t want to reveal it just yet –it’s in my prerogative as a writer. Suspend information to create tension within the audience.
I moved deeper into the house. My curiosity was raised. The next room I went in was even odder. At first I thought that it was a garage with plants in it. Then I thought that I might have been in a green house. It was neither. It was a swamp-like with wild grass and weeds around it.
Surely this wasn’t in the house? (You and I think alike). But there was the roof.
Who lived here??
I began to feel uncomfortable and took out my penknife. I edged my way to the next door…
… A kitchen.
I can’t tell you how relieved I was to be in a room I recognised. I tried to listen, to see if I could hear anything. The only sound I could hear were my clothes dripping onto the floor. I looked down at the trail of drips and footprints on the floor. What was that?
I knelt down and touched the floor. Straw…
This was a very odd house and I didn’t like it.
Why would anyone have a straw floor? Pets? I tried to listen again.
No. This was not good.
Scratching, from the cupboard to my side.
Sounded like mice.
Easy now. I began to open the cupboard door with my foot and prepared to myself to stab at what was inside with my knife.
Just an inch at first…
What was that? Looked like metal… no wait… wire mesh.
Wire mesh?
God… what was this place???
Two inches. It began to look more like a cage.
I swung it open.
It was mice alright. About 200 of them, all crawling over each other trying to get space. They looked like maggots.
You may not believe me so far –but believe me when I tell you that I did not want to stay in that house! That cold, pissing rain, suddenly seemed a lot more inviting.
I slowly shut the cupboard, and in about the same time again I had moved to the front door again. I didn’t so much walk there, or even run –more glided. Fast and quiet. Which was just as well really, because it meant that I could hear the home owners walking up the drive before I opened the door.
Realising I’d be seen if I opened the front door –I panicked! In a heartbeat I had zoomed back into the kitchen. I thought that I might be able to escape out of the back. But when I got there I couldn’t see a door, and the screeching of the mice got in the way of my thinking. They obviously knew something that I didn’t.
I went back to the front door. In retrospect I wish I had hidden in that weird foliage room. I say that because, once at the front door and with the sound of the owners almost on top of me, the only thing I had time to do was run upstairs. It wasn’t a good idea.
There were 3 rooms at the top of the stairs. I dived for the nearest one.
It was small, dark, musty and smelled really, really bad. The ground crunched beneath my feet. It was like I was walking on rice paper. I’ve got a pretty good idea of what it was now, but I don’t want to tell you because it will ruin the whole dynamic of the story. I’m building up to this unexpected twist you see?
Now your mind is racing. Stop it! If you guess it’ll ruin the surprise. Then it wouldn’t be a surprise at all… it would be whatever the opposite of a surprise is… you know…
So… I’m in this tiny room with the wind and rain banging at some nearby window which I don’t see. Its pitch black outside too. I can hear unusual noises downstairs. No wait… Maybe that’s upstairs…
With all the noise and no room to move I start to feel very claustrophobic. I realise that I’m trapped in that room. So I go to get out –but I can’t find the door. It is pitch black after all.
I figured I could find the door by running my hands along the wall. But when I reach my hands out my hands out I knock something off of what must have been a shelf in front of me. There’s an almighty crash, which may as well have been my heart, because within seconds someone is coming up the stairs.
Worse still is that they seem to have some kind of animal with them which is growling something awful. It wasn’t good.
Not wanting to get eaten to death I panicked and tried to find the door again. I knock more stuff over… but eventually I find it.
The last few paragraphs actually happened very fast. It takes a lot longer to describe this than it was to live it. Well, this bit at least.
Anyway, I dash out only to stumble into something, and fall to the ground. There’s a small amount of moonlight shining through one of the broken windows. I can see two eyes looking back at me. I must have run into someone and knocked them out or something.
“Sorry. You ok?”
I go to approach… but then realise that the person is dead. I’m sure of that. On closer inspection I could see that there was no life in their eyes.
…on to my feet. To the window.
In the doorway, motionless –like it’s frozen, is what can only be described as an alligator which is standing up like a man. Its mouth is open and the moonlight glinting in its eyes.
I stand there poised like an action figure left posing by a child.
My heart is beating like fucking crazy.
It’s stuffed right? I never saw it before. It hasn’t moved. It’s stuffed. It’s got to be.
I scan it again. It’s got legs like a fucking man!
…Did it move??!
…Did it move??!
No, it’s stuffed. Stuffed.
I decide that I can move around it.
Something starts to move across the floor in the room I just came from. Rustling on the floor.
Got to move. But I can’t!
…and something is coming.
I’m so fucking scared at this point that I can’t even begin to tell you. All I could manage to do was shake. I felt like if I moved, the alligator man would move too. He looked real.
I don’t know how to convey how scared I was. I couldn’t hear the rain anymore. My bladder gave way, but all I was concerned about was staying upright. I was feeling so weak and shaky that I thought I might I collapse.
Then it happened.
This still keeps me up at night… I can’t wipe it from my mind… it makes me scream and wail like a stinking, shitting helpless baby… and flashed in my mind like lightning, when my heart is hammering like ice cold rain…
There in the doorway is another alligator. My heart almost gave out on me. In fact I think it did. Like the other alligator man I never saw it move. One moment it wasn’t there. Then it was.
But now I knew they were real. They were alive. Because the other one wasn’t there before and now it was.
Both of them –silent, still, staring –mouths open like alligators in a zoo. Waiting.
…and I screamed. I screamed as loud as I could, until there was blood in my mouth and my throat was sandpaper.
Then one of them moved. It tilted its head.
I must have jumped, because the next thing I know –like a thunder clap the first one lurches at me.
I somehow push its head with my hand and get past the doorway onto the landing.
Running down the stairs.
One appears in front of me. But I’m going too fast to stop.
I go headlong into it and both of us go flying down. Tumbling. I hit my head and black out.
I open my eyes to find that the alligator is next to me, half on the stairs, on its back. I’m not sure if it’s spasming or having trouble getting onto its feet. Before I can tell, I’m outside running.
It’s as if someone else is driving.
I have to forcibly take control of myself to stop from running into any of the houses. I don’t expect I would have found anyone human anyway.
I ran through trees that tore at my clothes and cut my face. I ditched my rucksack when it got snagged –just to keep moving.
I swamped through streams. Sometimes as deep as my waist.
I ran until I could run no more… finally collapsing in a field with the sun burning my face.
I just led there and cried.
I can now honestly say that with the running, the shaking, the swimming, the cuts, the crying and the shaking again –I have never been so exhausted in all my life.

Somehow I ended up in hospital.
I don’t remember going –just waking up there.
People would come in and ask me all sorts of questions. I can’t remember what. I just remember crying until I was exhausted again… and waking up.
It seemed like a lifetime –where it was always afternoon.
Apparently I was there 10 weeks.
At the time I figured that they must have been drugging me to go to sleep, but it turned out that they were actually struggling to keep me awake. I don’t really understand it.
They said that they had caught a man who was feeding children to his alligators thanks to me.
They said I must have broken free.
Their story was neat and explained the rope marks on my arms when I couldn’t. They liked and preferred their story more than mine.
But I was there –just like you were.
Frustrating isn’t it? When everything you followed turns out to be fiction.

Friday, February 23, 2007

To the person who will never read this

Dear Stranger,

Sorry I never got to know you. Who knows what could have been?

It’s funny to think that you’ll never read this –because you are who I wrote this for.

I like the idea that one day when I pass you on the street that you won’t really be a stranger anymore because I wrote this for you. I may even give you an almost imperceptible nod –a knowing look. You’ll probably wonder if we met one time and you forgot me. In a way, you kind of did.

I grew up in an area that was surrounded by fields. You could cross the street, go down a path, climb a stile and be in a field. You could keep going. Climb the hill by following the hedgerow, until you were right at the top. It feels like a million miles as a kid. As an adult it feels less. Depends on how fit you are I suppose.

Looking back from the top of the hill you could see the hills stretching away into infinity around you –with just the odd puddle of houses to break it up.

If you could stay looking at this as time zipped by before your eyes, you would see –at first- a tiny speck appear. The first of the construction workers. Then, splitting out of the land like an exposed bone, you would see the first of the big roads streak across in front of you. That road would make getting to the top of hill pretty difficult, so it’s no surprise when the first bridge appears. There’s no stopping it now. There’s a supermarket, a hardware store… it’s like the land has measles. One after another the houses appear. By nightfall it’s just a mass of twinkling lights.

…Every light a room in a house, every house at least one person. Thousands of people –grown from the ground like grass.

…Every person lives, loves and cries like you do. It’s incredibly profound if you stop to think about it. All of those people probably hope and dream like you, maybe for the same things as you. A better job? More money? Nice things?

Obviously, like the land, I have changed. I’ll never be a child again –at least not the same one in the same place at the same time. But then, neither will you. You’ll never even read this for the first time ever again. It’s always slipping away.

As an adult, I look across those blinking lights thinking about these things –and about you. I wonder about you and your own unique life, which I can only imagine. I think that as unique as you are, and as unique as I am, that we are actually very similar. Maybe if I had been in your shoes I would be exactly like you. Why wouldn’t I be?

So, thinking about you –I thought I’d drop you this letter, and I don’t mean you the person reading this. I’m talking about the person that the you reading this will never show this to. The ones whose eyes will never scan these words. Yes, you! I thought that I would tell you that I hope you will finally read this one day and I can say it was great to know you.

You the person who will never read this.



Behold!!! …at this excessive and elaborate exercise in employment of the English language for the unadulterated sake of it. The extravagant, use of prose for which the only intention is the enjoyment of simply using them. The unhindered style over content.

Wonder!!! …at the pure cheek of the over elaborate, over-cooked, ornate flamboyancy of it all.

Gasp!!! …at the undeniable squandering of your reading endeavour without any advantageous profitability to your well being or any regard to you at all.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Machine Boy

I was humming to myself (like a fridge) as the train rattled through the countryside.

A boy opposite me was humming too –not to my tune –but to the melody of the wheels on the tracks.

As one of the most sophisticated machines ever made I found this interesting.

I had mastered the English language in just 3 days –by listening to it spoken. I would say I had grasped 70% in the first day, 20% in the second and 10% in the next. I could of course be more specific, but it would only unsettle you. Think of me as a human pretending to be a machine not vice versa.

I found the boy singing to the train interesting as I had never attempted to understand the sounds the train made.

Don’t be offended by this, but it took me twice as long to figure out that language as any of the languages spoken by humans.

It took me twice as long again to understand the language of the wind blowing through the trees.

Those of you who suspected that you were being communicated to in those sounds were quite correct. They know all about you.

Listen –they will tell you everything you wanted to know the most.

But don’t take my word for it.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Final Thoughts

I’m not really sure who I am.

That’s my problem.

From my appearance I’d say I was about 70 something. I certainly feel that old. I haven’t written anything in a long time and it’s surprising how difficult it is write this now. The pen is slower than my thoughts –which is certainly saying something!

I suppose, thinking about it now, that this is the last time I will actually write anything, and –more than likely –I’ll probably be dead by the time you read this. I feel dead some days as it is.
In fact, this is probably going to be the only record of my existence -my parents are long gone, as are all the friends that I ever had. I’m pretty much alone in the world now. I wish some days that there was someone who had followed my path in life –just to confirm that I walked it. It would be handy to have someone to swap stories of the past with. They could help me sort out the facts from fiction and remind me of what I’ve forgotten. My memory is so muddled and confused nowadays. I guess I’m senile.

What use is my life if no one will remember me and I can’t even remember it myself?

Where did my past go?

I think I was an actor once. I seem to remember being in theatres a lot as a young man. But I confuse the roles I used to play and actual life. Who in the world imagines finding themselves being in this situation -where you are not sure what was lived and what was acted?

I remember a flat in the ‘night-time’ part of town. Well, that’s how I used to think of it –because that was the only time I ever went there. I hated that place with a passion, but it was the only thing I could afford at the time. It had rats the size of cats there.

I used to put off going home until it was late, and get up and start the day before the sun did. I hardly ever slept –which is probably why that part of my life seems so dream like. I never saw that place in daylight. Not ever. I sometimes think that if I were to go there in the daytime that part of town would still be shrouded in darkness. I know it’s impossible –but I still wonder about it sometimes…

I seem to recall seeing a girl when I lived there. We used to have the same arguments again and again. She said that I drank too much and she left me. At least I think she did, but it could have been one of the plays I was in, as that would make sense too. I just remember living the same moments again and again and again. Life was so repetitive and fruitless, it drove me crazy. I certainly drank when she left me –or the play ended –whichever was the case. The worse thing is that I’m still reliving those moments over and over now. My memory is stuck on repeat I think. I guess there must be something very important about it all that I missed. Like a question that I can’t figure out the answer to –no matter how much I analyse it. I desperately would like to forget it. It’s not a memory that does me any favours, and I’ve forgotten most other things for Christ’s sake! I couldn’t even tell you my name right now, but these thoughts and memories remain, echoing through my mind.

Maybe I cling to it because it’s one of the few things I can remember.

My memory is like soft rock –weathered away through the years –leaving me with canyons of missing time. I try to bridge the gaps, but when I stand on those bridges, I wonder where all those sands of time went. They must be somewhere surely. Is there such a place as nowhere? No past? No time?

I’d like to think that when I die all the missing pieces will be put back, like a giant jigsaw. But I’m not sure that they will. Not really…

I think that I may have been a priest at one point actually. I don’t know why that seems so far fetched written on paper, but it does and it’s made me think twice about it actually. I certainly know the bible very, very well. I can quote it from memory, which feels quite strange.

I don’t think I believe it though. Let’s face it; do you believe that Adam and Eve story? Noah’s ark? I’ll take Darwin’s theory of evolution any day.

I don’t suppose I would have made a very good priest would I?

I guess that the messages behind the stories are true; Love one another, don’t steal...etc. I suppose you should measure the validity of the bible by the validity of the messages and meanings in it. Would that make it non-fiction?

I’ve given up trying to work out what moments of my life were actually mine and which were plays I acted, stories I read, and films I saw. Instead, I try to figure out why they are in my head, what they mean and what I learnt. My time is running out and I sure would like to figure it out before my time is up. It’s a battle against time that I think I might lose.

Time is so confusing. I couldn’t even tell you what time of year it is. There’s a tree outside my window that hasn’t got a single leaf on it – so I guess it might be winter. But the sun is very strong – so it might be summer. That tree could just be dead. Most things around here seem to be.

I’m in a home as I write this I think. It could be a mental institution or a hospital – I don’t remember. No-one talks to me and no-one looks all that well. All the people here look like they are waiting to die. Our times are numbered.

I don’t think that I am dead yet.

I don’t think so.

But what the hell is living?

I think I’ve been writing these ‘final thoughts’ all day, and damn it! I don’t feel like I’ve said a thing.

I knew that when I picked up the pen to write I had something important to say.

I think that I have something although I’m not sure what. I wish I’d been able to be specific. I mean, this is it, these words are the sum of my life.

I guess that there are more memories I could put down. I seem to remember a war. But that could be another play, or maybe a past life. Who am I to say? There’s no way to know anymore. Anyway, I don’t think that I want to talk about that war. I daren’t risk writing it down wrong. Too many died for me to get it wrong. I’m not sure it’s a place that I want to go back to anyway. I think that maybe I killed a man. How do you talk about that? How can I be proud of that? Maybe it was the right thing to do. Everyone seems to think that we were on the right side and that what we did was an important thing to do. But then the side that wins is always on the side of ‘good’ isn’t it? They make sure of it. History don’t mean a damn in my book. Not really. Where is that dead soldiers ‘final thoughts’? Lost forever. I think about it a lot and it doesn’t change a thing. I keep telling myself that it’s ok. I did what I had to do…

I don’t want to talk about it anymore. My thoughts feel too important to risk giving them away for you to misread, forget or waste them. I don’t know you after all. It’s the worst thing in the world, to give away something so precious to your heart –and it not mean a damn to anyone.
Why would it?

I guess my advice –my final thought would be this: Be careful. Because one day you’ll end up in this place where there’s not much that can be made of your life other than fantasy. You’ll relive the life that you have already led, reprising the ‘key’ moments –which may not, in reality, be the key moments that defined your life –but moments that stand out in retrospect. Like a God you’ll watch those moments, including the ones you’d rather forget -and even though you watch, even though it’s you –you won’t be able to change, remove or ignore a thing.

But you can, of course, ignore everything that I have said. I’m probably dead now after all.